Business and City in Brief

French airline to start Gatwick run

French airline Air Liberte said it would open four links a week between Paris-Orly and Gatwick airports from 12 September. It had previously been refused landing rights at both Heathrow and Gatwick, but it claimed yesterday it had been granted four slots at Gatwick.

The company, which is privately owned, suggested that complaints it filed about unfair trading practices against the British airport authorities with the European Union Commission in Brussels might have caused the change of heart.

Steelworks plan

A consortium involving Philippine, South African and Taiwanese firms said it would buy British Steel's mothballed Ravenscraig plant in Scotland and transfer it to the Philippines at a cost of dollars 1.2bn.

Nuclear adviser

Nuclear Electric said it had appointed Morgan Stanley, the investment bank, to advise on detailed proposals for privatisation.

Sinking profits

Japan's 150 banks suffered an average 31.5 per cent decline in profit for the year to 31 March, the fifth successive year of profit falls.

BPB appointment

The plasterboard group BPB, due to announce full year results today, has appointed Jean- Pierre Cluny as chief executive from 1 August. His appointment follows the departure last July of John Maxwell after nine months in the job.

Persil tests

A consumer testing body is to re-examine the new Persil washing powder that critics say 'rots clothes'. The Good Housekeeping Institute had given its backing to the cleaning ability of Persil Power whose maker, Unilever, used the endorsement in advertisements. But the institute said it was withdrawing its support because Unilever had changed the make-up of the powder.

Boost for jobs

Samsung, the Korean electronics company, is to create 240 new jobs on Teesside in an pounds 11m investment programme over three years. It is expanding its television plant at Billingham.

Talks resume

Ford has resumed negotiations about co-operation with Mazda, the Japanese car maker in which it has a 24.5 per cent stake.

Magazine deal

Emap has acquired the magazines Land Rover Owner International and International Off- Roader and 4x4 for pounds 2.25m from LRO Publications.

WORLD MARKETS

New York: Profit taking erased an earlier gain to leave the Dow Jones Industrial Average down 2.59 points at 3,667.05.

Tokyo: Volatile trade dominated by the dollar's continued slide against the yen left the Nikkei average 158.23 lower at 20,481.

Hong Kong: Prices recovered most of the ground lost early in the session as the Hang Seng index closed 33.18 down at 8,640.31.

Sydney: The All Ordinaries index edged up 0.7 of a point to 1,975.1 in moderate trading.

Bombay: Failing to sustain an early advance ahead of today's end of the account, the index lost 53.41 points to 4,158.42.

Johannesburg: Losses across the board sent the overall index tumbling 65 points to 5,422.

Paris: Tracking the bond market throughout the session, the CAC- 40 index ended with a 10.57- point improvement at 1,936.33.

Frankfurt: Quiet trade lifted the DAX index 28.04 to 2,046.3.

Zurich: Futures-related buying improved the Swiss Performance Index 13.12 points to 1,737.01.

London: Report, page 38.

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